Dan Fleser: Stumbling Lady Vols On Brink Of Missing NCAA Field Of 64

Tuesday, February 12, 2019 - by Dan Fleser

Charlie Crème projects NCAA women’s tournament brackets for ESPN and Tennessee always has been among the 64 teams in the field – until Monday.

In Crème’s latest projection, he had the Lady Vols as the first team out. The determination reflected UT’s 15-8 record (4-6 in the SEC) and its RPI of 61. The latest installment was a 91-63 loss at Mississippi State on Sunday.

The Lady Vols, who have made every NCAA tournament field, were on the brink three years ago, when four losses in February sent them into free fall. But they never slipped from Crème’s projections. A solid finish ultimately kept them in the tournament field as well.

“It was a hot topic for two weeks,” Crème said. “They got close (to falling out) but it never got that close.

“It never got this dire you could say. They’re definitely in a more tenuous situation now.”

Tennessee’s status is impacted by what’s occurring in other conferences. For example, Missouri State (14-7, RPI 63), which is coached by former Lady Vols point guard Kellie Harper, is in first place in the Missouri Valley Conference by virtue of an 85-79 victory over Drake on Feb. 1. Crème currently projects both teams to be among the 64 tournament teams.

Crème also has three Mid-American Conference teams - Central Michigan, Buffalo and Ohio – in his latest field.

Future results could alter those projections and open a spot or two in the field.

Furthermore, the Lady Vols’ remaining regular season schedule allows for more control of their destiny with four games against teams (Auburn, Missouri, Texas A&M and South Carolina) Crème projects to make the tournament.

“They have more opportunity than most in that position,” Crème said of the Lady Vols.

 UT’s game against Auburn Thursday night at Thompson-Boling Arena previews as a tournament play-in game for the time being. Auburn this week is among Crème’s final four teams in the field.

Tennessee won at Auburn 78-69 on Jan. 3.

Here’s how Tennessee has fared against the other three aforementioned SEC teams:

Missouri: A 66-64 loss to the Tigers in Knoxville on Jan. 6 was the beginning of a six-game losing streak. The Lady Vols, who play in Columbia, Mo., on Sunday, have lost their last two games against Missouri and all-SEC guard Sophie Cunningham. The total margin has been six points.

Texas A&M: The Aggies, who are led by all-SEC guard Chennedy Carter, are more balanced offensively than earlier in the season. The Lady Vols have split their last two meetings in the series. They’ll return to College Station, Texas, on Feb. 21, where they’ve lost in overtime on their last two visits.

South Carolina: The NCAA Division I women’s basketball committee’s initial reveal of the top 16 seeds on Monday had the Gamecocks as a No. 3 seed in Greensboro, N.C. They’ll visit Knoxville on Feb. 24.

With former star A’ja Wilson having graduated, South Carolina has evolved into a more guard-oriented team. Wilson missed two games against Tennessee last season because of injury and UT won both games.

* * *

Dan Fleser is a 1980 graduate of the University of Missouri who covered University of Tennessee athletics for the Knoxville News Sentinel from 1988-2019. He can be reached at danfleser3@gmail.com 


 


Dalton State Women Have 4 Stroke Lead After Round 1 In Hattiesburg

Dalton State Women's Soccer Wins Over Life, 2-0

Dalton State Men's Soccer Unbeaten Streak Continues With Road Win At Trinity Baptist


#4 Dalton State shot out of the gate with a 298 (+10) on Monday and leads by four strokes after the first round of the Carey Collegiate Classic at Canbrake Country Club in Hattiesburg, Miss. ... (click for more)

After starting the season with two losses, the Lady Roadrunners have now won four-straight after defeating Life (Ga.) 2-0 at Lupo Family Field in Marietta on Sunday. A trade of offensive ... (click for more)

Dalton State improved its unbeaten streak to eight matches with a 5-0 road win over Trinity Baptist (Fla.) in non-conference action in Jacksonville, Fla. on Saturday. TBC played tough on ... (click for more)


Sports

Dalton State Women Have 4 Stroke Lead After Round 1 In Hattiesburg

#4 Dalton State shot out of the gate with a 298 (+10) on Monday and leads by four strokes after the first round of the Carey Collegiate Classic at Canbrake Country Club in Hattiesburg, Miss. Tournament host #8 William Carey (Miss.) and #6 Cumberlands (Ky.) are tied for second after rounds of 302 (+14). Rounding out the top 5 and in a tie for fourth are #12 Cumberland (Tenn.) ... (click for more)

Dalton State Women's Soccer Wins Over Life, 2-0

After starting the season with two losses, the Lady Roadrunners have now won four-straight after defeating Life (Ga.) 2-0 at Lupo Family Field in Marietta on Sunday. A trade of offensive exchanges began the match. It started when a Caylee Carpenter went wide seven minutes in for the Lady Roadrunners. Alexandra Collighan was next up for Life with back-to-back shots at the end ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Chip Baker Calls For Coordinated Walden Ridge Plateau Planning

Hamilton County Commissioner Chip Baker sent a letter to officials on Monday calling for a coordinated effort to plan a Signal Mountain growth plan. The letter was sent to the Walden Board of Aldermen, the Signal Mountain Town Council and Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger. The letter said, "It is past time that our respective communities come together to create a mountain ... (click for more)

Longtime Washington Alternative Center Principal Abruptly Leaves Post

The longtime principal of the Washington Alternative Center has abruptly left his post. County School officials said Dr. Rodney Knox "did not resign. He retired." Dr. Knox has been principal at the school that takes the most disruptive county school students since 2008. He said, "I loved my job." He said he retired because "I am in a new phase of my life." Dr. Knox said ... (click for more)

Opinion

Government Failures

Sadly, this morning's Roy Exum: "Teachers Bolt At Tyner" is in fact hard news. But unvarnished truth perhaps is best left in "Opinion", as most people would prefer to not see the truth of what is happening to their children. It is after all, in my opinion, about as disgusting as watching the manufacture of "cottage cheese". Let's look at truths here. If your child's teacher ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: He Gave My Gift Back

It’s been for well over half of my life that a psychiatrist has become part of me. I am proud to say I’ve sat at the side of two of the most stellar professionals to ever come down the pike and I shudder to think what I would have done over the last 25 years without the medical know-how and the modern-day medicines that are available (if you’ll only ask). It is now believed that ... (click for more)